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Shanghai expat housing

Shanghai Expat Housing Market:
The rental market for apartments and villas



Introduction


housing in Shanghai
Shanghai is booming. There are an incredible number of new expats moving into Shanghai and the most popular housing developments are now running at 95–100% occupancy.
Villas in prime areas are particularly affected in this respect, as are high-end luxury apartments in prime locations.
Due to the shear scale of building, there are so many more properties in the lower - lower-middle budget range for apartments (USD 1,000 – USD 3,000).This is because many of the better quality local apartment buildings are also available for lease to foreigners. In general, once you have decided which area best suits your requirements, the first question you need to answer is: what is your housing allowance?

Photo:enterAsia Art

View also the Rental Guide for detailed information on Houses and Apartments

 


What Do I Get For My Budget


The information below needs to be taken with the following points to note:

View also the Rental Guide for detailed information on Houses and Apartments

Rents are increasing in the mid to high end luxury apartment sectors due to lack of availability
Rents are decreasing in the low-budget apartment sector (due to competition from high end local housing)
Virtually all of the most popular housing developments targeting expatriates have occupancy rates over 90%
Serviced apartments are always considerably smaller than their unserviced brethren, if priced at around the same rent, it is also very unusual to find the two types (serviced & unserviced) in the same building, if on the rare occasion they are, then the quality of the fit-out will vary.
MNC = Multi National Corporation
Personal budgets will of course depend on a variety of factors including seniority & family size.

 

 

 

Vizcaya

 

 

Seasons OasisSemi-Detached

 

 

 

Bellewood Villa Green Hills

 

 

 

 

Green VillasFair Lakes

 

 

View also the Rental Guides Section: Your Choice: House or Apartment: Pros and Cons


Residential Areas

The following residential areas are popular with expatriates living in Shanghai:

Pudong - including Lujiazui, Jin Qiao, Long Dong Avenue and Kang Qiao

Hong Qiao - including Gubei, Hu Qing Ping, Zhu Di Town, Xu Jin and parts of Minhang, Songjiang and Qingpu

Downtown: Jing'An or Lu Wan

Downtown: XuHui - Former French Concession

Reliable maps are difficlut to find all over China as you will soon find out. It is getting better day by day but if you do not speak the local language, you will be lost quite regularly. Having a pack of Elite 8 's Taxi cards will certainly help !

 

Info: District Info and Maps
Shanghai Popular Areas Interactive Map
Pudong New Area
Jing'An District
Xuhui District
Changning District
Putuo District
Minhang District
Baoshan District
Huangpu Disctrict (former Nanshi Discrict)
Huangpu Discrict
Jinshan Disctrict
Baoshan Disctrict
Songjiang District
Qingpu District
Fengxian District
Jiading District

 

 

If you have schooling children, you should also visit the section disctricts/schools kindergartens.

 


Pudong



 

Borne from an unprecedented cash injection, Pudong rose miraculously out of the marshes on the east side of the Huangpu River in just the past ten years. And, with its wide sweeping highways, hundreds of residential and commercial skyscrapers and vast shopping malls ' that is quite some feat.

Boasting - and Pudong does have reason to boast - an even greater sense of space than Hongqiao, the central area of Lujiazui is anchored to Century Park, Shanghai' s largest open space at 140 hectares and to Asia' s largest shopping center, Super Brand Mall.

Pudong' s roads are more orderly and less busy than those of Puxi, the air feels a little cleaner and there are a number of supermarkets, including Lotus Supercenter and Carrefour, right on the doorstep. To boot, there is access to first class medical centers, dentists and hospitals.

Metro transport links, although crowded at rush-hour times, are efficient. Or, given a driver and car, commuting to Puxi can be achieved in 30-60 minutes. Taxis are forbidden from using the tunnel during peak times, but in the evenings they can whisk you to your downtown nightlife destination in less than 20 minutes.

Quick to take the lead in capturing the establishment of a new expat community, Dulwich College and a host of other well-known international schools have set up shop here and cultivated the executive level Shanghaianese and expatriate markets.

These schools have created a demand for high-quality, villa-style developments. American expats, Kaitlin and Steve Gough and their 14-year-old son, Rex, were posted to Shanghai two-years ago. ' We spent a long time looking around and weighing up the various options,' said Steve. ' Of course, a big pull for us was the great selection of international schools for Rex. But, we also found that properties were cheaper, larger, newer and often better-equipped for Westerners than the ones we saw in Hongqiao.'

A bonus for the Gough family was that the properties are built in the gated, 24-hour security, ' complex-living' format, often replicating the cul-de-sac style of Western housing. ' We felt right at home. We could see that there were a lot of families here with teenage children and that the environment was safe. We have made lots of friends here ' it' s a very friendly place.

On the downside, it takes Steve over an hour by taxi and metro to get to work at his office in Puxi. ' But,' he says, ' I am away travelling alot so it doesn' t make a huge difference to me and it is good to live closer to the international airport.'

Although trailing behind the hipper downtown scene, nightlife in Pudong is improving rapidly with new bars and restaurants opening all the time and the leading hotels offering a number of high-class wining and dining options ' including incredible Sunday brunch deals. Culture vultures will never go without, since the recent opening of world-class arts and music venues.

Lujiazui forms the central part of Pudong and it is here that you will find the iconic Pearl Orient Tower, the Jin Mao Grand Hyatt, Centruy Park and Super Brand Mall as well as the stock exchange and numerous other financial and insurance institutions. Within just a couple of minutes by car or 15 minutes walk from the Metro you can find yourself in one of the high quality apartment developments, some of which offer great river views and spectacular facilities.

Access to downtown Puxi on the other side of the river is only 3 to 5 miles away and will take 10 to 45 minutes through the main tunnel linking Puxi with Pudong, depending on traffic conditions, as always.

Kang Qiao is a a newly developing villa and townhouse zone and has some of the best properties in Pudong with, sometimes, amazingly quick access to downtown. The Long Dong Avenue area situated very close (5 minutes drive) to the Jin Qiao residential zone offers an excellent location for access to Puxi (via ring roads), Pudong airport and golf courses. A slightly further commute to downtown (30 to 60 minutes+) but still only ca. 9 miles / 15 km to the city centre.

 


Hongqiao


 

This is Shanghai' s original expat, family-oriented suburb. Just 12 miles (19 kms) along the elevated highway from Downtown, Hongqiao, in West Puxi, has blossomed into Shanghai' s most concentrated expatriate community. There are now just under 10,000 expats living among 120,000 residents. Facilities like gyms, golf courses, bars, restaurants and shops are improving almost daily.

Why has it been so successful? Strikingly, it has more of a feeling of space than the Downtown areas, but more importantly it has an excellent supply of free-standing, family-sized villas in safe, well-kept, well-facilitated, gated communities.

Complexes tend to be favoured by different nationalities, perhaps with Dutch, Swiss and Germans inhabiting one, Japanese, Koreans and Taiwanese another and English and Americans next door. It' s worthwhile checking to see who your neighbours are likely to be, as this can be an easy route to making new friends.

Swiss expat and part-time working mother of two, Sandra Pallin, explained: ' When we arrived in Shanghai two years ago I was pregnant with my second son. Although, I could see there were advantages to living Downtown, I was more attracted to the size of properties available in Hongqiao and the closeness to international schools. We have a 300sqm villa with a backyard for the children to play out. It' s kind of like the type of house we had in Switzerland.

' My husband is away a lot so I also thought it would be better for me to have a network of friends on my doorstep who I could call on if I needed help. There have been many instances when I' ve needed that support and so, in that respect, I am glad to have made the choice to live here.

' My husband' s company provides a car and driver, so we can usually get Downtown in 20-30 minutes. Morning and evening rush hours can be bad though, sometimes it can take up to an hour.' The journey time will decrease with new improvements to the highway due for completion in early 2006.

A number of well-resourced international schools are also a key ingredient to Hongqiao' s rise to expat fame. These cater specifically for Germans, Japanese, French, English and Americans. Kindergarten' s too are plentiful and can be in green environments like Shanghai Zoo.

Writing of which, the Zoo doubles up as an expansive park offering Hongqiao residents one of Shanghai' s largest, most mature green spaces in which to walk the dog or while away a Sunday.

And, with the shelves stacked in a host of Western-style supermarkets, including a huge Carrefour (Gubei), City Supermarket, Glenmore Deli and Pines - expats need never go without a decent selection of wines, cheeses, bread or meats!

In nearby Gubei there is a limited supply of villas, in this primarily apartment-led area, popular with expatriates from Korea, Japan and those on generally lower budgets wanting access to excellent facilities. Commute to downtown (5 miles/8 km) can vary from 15 to 45 minutes.

The new overflow area of Hu Qing Ping/Gao Jin Road has an excellent supply of a whole range of new villas, close to the new French / German school and 20 minutes from the American, Singaporean and new British School campuses.

Further out still are Minhang, Songjiang and Qingpu. Minhang is the new Hongqiao with exclusive apartments and villas anchored to the first-class facilities of the Shanghai Racquet Club. Pricing for the wide choice of villas in these areas is usually very competitive. You get a lot more for your money and usually in a lovely environment. It is ideal for expats who don’t need to travel downtown each day, have children going to the new French/German school, American, Singaporean or new British School campuses, and don’t need daily access to downtown shopping.


Downtown: Jing'An or Lu Wan



If you want old-Shanghai romance with the convenience of downtown living, look no further than this enticing network of tree-lined streets, stretching from Yanan Lu (road) in the north, Zhaohiabang Lu in the south, Huashan Lu in the west and Xizang Nan Lu to the east.

Characterised by an intriguing mix of low-rise, architectural styles dating from the colonial-era, this area boasts quaint boutiques and galleries, an endless supply of stylish bars and restaurants, plus easy access to metro stations and Huahai Lu ' the hub of Shanghai' s shopping scene. To the south-west of the area are Xujiahui's mega-shopping and leisure malls. All these factors combine to make XuHui an extremely desirable, world-class lifestyle package.

All types of expats are attracted to the former French Concession. German expat, Joanna Rabib, said: ' As soon as we moved to Shanghai, my husband and I knew this was the area for us. We definitely did not want to live in a compound. We wanted a low-rise, older-style apartment with period features, somewhere we could see the trees and be close to everything.

'We love the timeless, easy-going pace of this neighbourhood. There's a choice of gyms and swimmming facilities just nearby and a metro station on Hengshan Lu. It is city living but without any hard edges - I always feel safe here.'

Residential property consists mainly of apartments of all shapes, sizes and rents. You can find anything you want, but it might take a bit of searching. Highly desirable, older-style properties - both lane houses and apartments - can be found here. There is a small supply of luxury newly-built villas and also of the classical colonial-era style villas, most commonly referred to as ' Lao Yang Fang' .

View as many properties as are available within your budget because they vary enormously in terms of style and quality of renovation. If you are attracted to older-style apartments - be prepared! Communal areas can be grossly unloved, but the rewards of having Chinese neighbours will more than compensate for this and enhance your new experience ten-fold.

On the fringes, yet still close to all downtown amenities, there are several popular high-rise expat compounds offering apartments of varying sizes with superb recreational facilities. These are typified by Ambassy Court on Huahai Lu and, at the higher price range, 41 Hengshan Road.

The quiet, leafy streets offer respite enough from the relentless urbanism of Shanghai, but XuHui residents have the added benefit of never being far from a park. Notably, Fuxing and Jing An Parks offer attractive escapes, with plenty of facilities for children and adults alike.

There is a large selection of kindergartens catering for all requirements, particularly if you wish to send your children to local schools so that they may learn the Chinese language. There is fast access to international schools in Jing An and Changning Districts.

Medical facilities are found near to Huahai Lu and Huashan Lu, and Nanjing Lu to the north of the district.

 


Downtown: XuHui (Former French Concession)



If you want old-Shanghai romance with the convenience of downtown living, look no further than this enticing network of tree-lined streets, stretching from Yanan Lu (road) in the north, Zhaohiabang Lu in the south, Huashan Lu in the west and Xizang Nan Lu to the east.

Characterised by an intriguing mix of low-rise, architectural styles dating from the colonial-era, this area boasts quaint boutiques and galleries, an endless supply of stylish bars and restaurants, plus easy access to metro stations and Huahai Lu ' the hub of Shanghai' s shopping scene. To the south-west of the area are Xujiahui's mega-shopping and leisure malls. All these factors combine to make XuHui an extremely desirable, world-class lifestyle package.

All types of expats are attracted to the former French Concession. German expat, Joanna Rabib, said: ' As soon as we moved to Shanghai, my husband and I knew this was the area for us. We definitely did not want to live in a compound. We wanted a low-rise, older-style apartment with period features, somewhere we could see the trees and be close to everything.

'We love the timeless, easy-going pace of this neighbourhood. There's a choice of gyms and swimmming facilities just nearby and a metro station on Hengshan Lu. It is city living but without any hard edges - I always feel safe here.'

Residential property consists mainly of apartments of all shapes, sizes and rents. You can find anything you want, but it might take a bit of searching. Highly desirable, older-style properties - both lane houses and apartments - can be found here. There is a small supply of luxury newly-built villas and also of the classical colonial-era style villas, most commonly referred to as ' Lao Yang Fang' .

View as many properties as are available within your budget because they vary enormously in terms of style and quality of renovation. If you are attracted to older-style apartments - be prepared! Communal areas can be grossly unloved, but the rewards of having Chinese neighbours will more than compensate for this and enhance your new experience ten-fold.

On the fringes, yet still close to all downtown amenities, there are several popular high-rise expat compounds offering apartments of varying sizes with superb recreational facilities. These are typified by Ambassy Court on Huahai Lu and, at the higher price range, 41 Hengshan Road.

The quiet, leafy streets offer respite enough from the relentless urbanism of Shanghai, but XuHui residents have the added benefit of never being far from a park. Notably, Fuxing and Jing An Parks offer attractive escapes, with plenty of facilities for children and adults alike.

There is a large selection of kindergartens catering for all requirements, particularly if you wish to send your children to local schools so that they may learn the Chinese language. There is fast access to international schools in Jing An and Changning Districts.

Medical facilities are found near to Huahai Lu and Huashan Lu, and Nanjing Lu to the north of the district.

 

If you want old-Shanghai romance with the convenience of downtown living, look no further than this enticing network of tree-lined streets, stretching from Yanan Lu (road) in the north, Zhaohiabang Lu in the south, Huashan Lu in the west and Xizang Nan Lu to the east.

Characterised by an intriguing mix of low-rise, architectural styles dating from the colonial-era, this area boasts quaint boutiques and galleries, an endless supply of stylish bars and restaurants, plus easy access to metro stations and Huahai Lu ' the hub of Shanghai' s shopping scene. To the south-west of the area are Xujiahui's mega-shopping and leisure malls. All these factors combine to make XuHui an extremely desirable, world-class lifestyle package.

All types of expats are attracted to the former French Concession. German expat, Joanna Rabib, said: ' As soon as we moved to Shanghai, my husband and I knew this was the area for us. We definitely did not want to live in a compound. We wanted a low-rise, older-style apartment with period features, somewhere we could see the trees and be close to everything.

'We love the timeless, easy-going pace of this neighbourhood. There's a choice of gyms and swimmming facilities just nearby and a metro station on Hengshan Lu. It is city living but without any hard edges - I always feel safe here.'

Residential property consists mainly of apartments of all shapes, sizes and rents. You can find anything you want, but it might take a bit of searching. Highly desirable, older-style properties - both lane houses and apartments - can be found here. There is a small supply of luxury newly-built villas and also of the classical colonial-era style villas, most commonly referred to as ' Lao Yang Fang' .

View as many properties as are available within your budget because they vary enormously in terms of style and quality of renovation. If you are attracted to older-style apartments - be prepared! Communal areas can be grossly unloved, but the rewards of having Chinese neighbours will more than compensate for this and enhance your new experience ten-fold.

On the fringes, yet still close to all downtown amenities, there are several popular high-rise expat compounds offering apartments of varying sizes with superb recreational facilities. These are typified by Ambassy Court on Huahai Lu and, at the higher price range, 41 Hengshan Road.

The quiet, leafy streets offer respite enough from the relentless urbanism of Shanghai, but XuHui residents have the added benefit of never being far from a park. Notably, Fuxing and Jing An Parks offer attractive escapes, with plenty of facilities for children and adults alike.

There is a large selection of kindergartens catering for all requirements, particularly if you wish to send your children to local schools so that they may learn the Chinese language. There is fast access to international schools in Jing An and Changning Districts.

Medical facilities are found near to Huahai Lu and Huashan Lu, and Nanjing Lu to the north of the district.

 

Districts/Schools/Kindergarten



It is important to check if international schools have set up a campus in the vicinity of your new home or if the school bus is picking up your child and how long the commuting will take. Check with the school's transport office.

 

 


Villas in Puxi and Pudong


 

 



Apartments Puxi and Pudong

 

Those who want apartment life in the suburbs now have greater choice, as furnished apartments are increasingly an option in Hongqiao/western suburbs and Pudong.

 

Pudong's cleaner air and abundant green space is primarily the preserve of senior management expats, who live in the spacious villas here, but now an apartment market is growing. Choices include: